Sarangani Rep. Manny Pacquiao frequent absences at the House of Representatives isn’t nessarily proof he’s taking his lawmaking duties lightly, his colleague and party-mate in the opposition United Nationalist Alliance said Monday.
UNA interim president and Navotas City Rep. Tobias “Toby” Tiangco said Pacquiao is still able to serve his constituents in Sarangani even though he rarely attends House sessions.
“Noong inihalal siya ng mga mamamamayan ng Sarangani, alam nilang boksingero siya at alam nilang kailangan niyang maglaan ng oras para sa kanyang pagboboksing. Personally, nakita kong maraming lumalapit kay Congressman Pacquiao,” he said in a report aired on “24 Oras” on Monday evening.
Over the weekend, former Senator Rene Saguisag urged the House leadership through a letter to the editor in the Philippine Daily Inquirer to suspend Pacquiao from the House up to the end of his term in 2016 since he appears to treat legislative work “as a hobby or sideline.”
“If it is true that Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather will fight on May 2, 2015, it seems only proper for the House of Representatives to decide what it will do with someone contending for the title ‘House Top Absentee,’” he said.
Pacquiao was recorded present for only 38 out of 69 session days during the first regular session of Congress from July 22, 2013 to June 11, 2014.
House Speaker Feliciano Belmonte earlier called on Pacquiao to be more active in Congress, saying he wished the boxer “will be more involved” as a lawmaker.
But although Pacquiao is a perennial absentee, Tiangco noted that no lawmaker has been suspended from Congress because of their poor attendance record.
Aside from boxing and lawmaking, Pacquaio also dabbles in basketball as the playing coach of KIA Sorentos.
Saguisag said in the television report that Pacquiao should already quit boxing and start studying legislative work if he plans on running for senator in 2016. He is reportedly being considered by Vice President Jejomar Binay for inclusion on UNA’s senatorial slate.
“The others [who are always absent] should also be disciplined. Mahiya naman tayo sa sambayanang Pilipino. Tuwing may roll call, walang quorum,” Saguisag said.
For his part, Majority Leader Neptali Gonzales II reminded Pacquiao and other lawmakers to be diligent in attending sessions once Congress resumes on Jan. 19, 2015.